Army Corps Abruptly Ends DAPL Environmental Review; More Pressure Brought Against Pipeline’s Financial Backers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prematurely scuttled the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a move both expected and discouraging. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and thousands of Japanese protestors have joined the push to divest from the banks backing the pipeline, the Standing Rock Nation is struggling from declining casino revenues, and the FBI investigates DAPL protestors as potential terrorists.

Several news outlets have published stories about the Army Corps’ decision to end DAPL’s environmental study, including MPR, the Star Tribune, NBC and the publication Motherboard, with its article: Dakota Access Pipeline Is Back On, Skipping Environmental Review. It is clearly an issue of great interest; the Star Tribune reporting that more than 100,000 comments had already been submitted for the study. The Corps should have stuck to its process.

On the divestment front, the Sierra Club is asking members to pressure Wells Fargo to pull its financial support of DAPL. Wells Fargo has $120 million in direct project funding, it said. The Sierra Club writes:

The CEO of Wells Fargo bank recently said: “my number one priority is rebuilding trust.” But it’s hard to trust a company that not only deceives its customers but publicly claims it’s committed to addressing climate change and protecting human rights while backing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Actions speak louder than words.

Take action: Tell Wells Fargo to divest from the dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline:

The controversy has also prompted action on the other side of the Pacific, according to a Feb. 17 story in The Japan Times:

Citizen’s groups on Friday delivered a petition with more than 11,300 signatures to three of Japan’s mega-banks to demand they halt funding for the Dakota Access Pipeline reinstated by U.S. President Donald Trump. …

The petition said the three banks are violating their own human rights values.

All three have adopted the so-called Equator Principle that determines, assesses and manages environmental and social risk in project financing.

Meanwhile  the Bismarck Tribune is reporting that Standing Rock’s casino is struggling with revenue losses, both because of the loss of traffic due to road blockades and the fact that water protectors were seeking shelter from winter storms at the casino’s hotel, spots that otherwise could have been used by customers.

“It’s like it’s fallen off a cliff,” said tribal CFO Jerome Long Bottom. “When the bridge was shut off, the numbers just plummeted.”

The tribal council’s budget for this year no longer adds up, due to the lost revenue. So, the tribe will face tough choices as soon as April about what to fund, Long Bottom said.

The Star Tribune also reported that the head of the FBI in Minneapolis has agents working with local, state and federal agencies to investigate the protesters for possible acts of terrorism, “arson and so forth.”

 

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